Yesterday I stopped by a local market to pick up some produce. I have taken to shopping for fresh vegetables and fruits every few days rather than just once for the entire week. At the store, the quality of an item can drastically vary between shipments. The peas that are delivered at the beginning of the week may look terrible, but the reorder a few days later might be the freshest product ever seen. I also focus on buying what is in season, looking for the best price on what looks best.
I love shopping the vegetable market. While others would rather look at tables of the latest fashions at the mall, I enjoy seeing a pile of well stacked onions. As I was wandered around eyeing the mountains of fresh flavor, I noticed that the store had gotten new uniforms for their employees. Green, now that’s an appropriate color I thought to myself. As I continued to shop I noticed everyone was wearing green. Of course being Saturday I figured they had on extra staff, but this seemed a bit more than usual. It wasn’t until I saw what I thought to be an employee wearing a green beer mug on his head that it hit me. These were not new uniforms, it was St. Patrick’s day. WOW. I guess sometimes I am a bit slow on the uptake.
Realizing that my cones and rods were not out of adjustment, and the uniform mystery now behind me, I turned my attention back to the produce. Directly in front of me were beautiful, plump, bright red, fresh strawberries, and for only one dollar a pound. I started loading the clam shells into my basket and then suddenly wondered, what would I do with all of these berries? They really won’t keep very long……..or will they?
To prepare the strawberries for freezing: I begin by thoroughly washing the berries in cold water. Remove the tops, and any other part of the berry that is not desirable. Slice the berries and place them in a non reactive mixing bowl. I lightly sugar the sliced strawberries with one rounded teaspoon of sugar for each pint. (Sugar is optional, however I find it helps maintain the color and also adds a bit of syrup. Sugar substitute can also be used). Mix the berries and the sugar well. Let stand for about five minutes to allow syrup to form. I like to portion any product I freeze. (Two cups of sliced berries is equal to one pint, and works well in different applications). Label and date a heavy freezer bag, and spoon in two cups of sliced berries being sure to include the syrup. Work all the air out of the bag that you can and close. I like to lay the sealed bags flat to freeze. I find they stack better and take up less space in the freezer. (The flat packages also thaw quicker on the counter when I am ready to use them).
Cooks Note: Most any fruit or vegetable can be canned, pickled, or frozen. When ever you come across product that looks good and is well priced I find it worth my while to do so. This is a great way to truly take advantage of a sale.
Nothing tastes better than a frozen strawberry daiquiri on a hot summer day. Here is an easy and delicious recipe that my good friend Stacie’s retired mother from Florida shared with me.
Judy’s Strawberry Daiquiri:
In a blender add
- 1 small can frozen lime aid concentrate
- 1 can frozen strawberries in sugar, thawed (use the can from the lime aid to measure)
- 1 can light rum (again with the can)
Blend. Add ice to fill the blender and blend until frozen.
What a rewarding way to enjoy the fruits of my labor. With the money saved freezing my own strawberries, there is enough left over to buy the rum. Now that makes this drink doubly refreshing!